Buying a car is a big investment. Whether you’re shopping for a big vehicle that will allow you to transport all the members of your family or you want a smaller, faster vehicle just for you, you want to make sure that you make the right choice. All those options can quickly become overwhelming! Following these tips, however, can make it easier for you to purchase the right car for you.
Tip #1: Know how much car you can afford.
Take a look at your budget before you start car shopping. How much do you have to put down as a down payment? Include the value of a trade-in if you have it. Next, evaluate how much you can afford to spend on car payments each month. Keep in mind that you may also need to calculate an increase in your insurance, especially if you’ll need to put full coverage insurance on your car while you pay it off. You may also want to check your credit score or visit a lender to get a better idea of what kind of loan you can get.
Tip #2: Narrow down the features you want.
Some people want all the latest and greatest features on their vehicles. Others are focused on safety features: the latest collision detection and avoidance technology, for example. Take a careful look at the features available for your vehicle and which ones you really want. Make a list of any deal-breaker features that you can’t do without.
Tip #3: Do your research before you visit a dealership.
Many car buyers walk into a dealership with little to no idea of what they want to purchase, its market value, or even the type of vehicle they want. Visiting a dealership with no idea of what you want, however, can lead to wasted time–for both you and the salesperson. Instead, do some basic research before you visit the lot. Consider:
What type of vehicle do you want? Are you looking for a car, truck, van, or SUV? How many passengers do you want your vehicle to hold?
How much cargo space do you need? When it comes to looking at SUVs or cars, in particular, cargo space can vary dramatically. Narrow down the vehicles that offer the cargo space you really need.
What specific brands are you interested in? Check out reviews of popular vehicle brands that fit your requirements. Take a look at how long they usually last, what problems they’re most likely to have, and how happy people generally are with their purchase.
When do people typically trade in the type of vehicle you’re considering? Are there a lot of vehicles available at a certain mileage? That could be when the vehicle starts having problems.
Often, by doing your research ahead of time, you can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend in a dealership. It can also allow you to see whether a specific dealership has the vehicle you want in stock before you ever set foot on the lot.
Tip #4: Check out what local dealerships can offer.
Many dealerships run through sales cycles around the same time. That does not mean, however, that all sales are created equal. Take a look at the specific incentives and sales offered by your local dealerships. Pay attention to financing options: if you intend to pay cash for a vehicle, you may not care about what financing options the dealership can offer.
On the other hand, you may be very interested in increase value for your trade-in or a deal that will allow you to save money on the sticker price of your car. In many cases, you may be able to get similar vehicles from different dealerships with dramatically different price points or features.
Before you buy a new vehicle, make sure you consider all the relevant factors. A little forethought and planning can make your vehicle purchase much easier, and also ensure that you’re happier with the one you choose.